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Restrictions on Imports of Laptops UPSC NOTE


Restrictions on imports of laptops and other electronic device

  • Marking a sudden and sharp shift in India’s foreign trade policy, the Commerce and Industry Ministry on August 3 notified restrictions on imports of laptops, personal computers (PCs), tablets and servers.

  • Making it compulsory for importers to secure a licence. 

Reasons for import restrictions

  • The government sought to suggest this was primarily driven by security concernsimported devices could be used for surveillance, just as mobile phones could have spyware. 

  • The import causing security fears because many come from China

Concerns and impacts on economy

  • With immediate effect, rattle the entire supply chain (including shipments in transit) and igniting fears of shortages and price surges, especially ahead of the festive season. 

  • It was also a rather blunt nudge for IT hardware producers to set up manufacturing bases in India by tapping a production-linked incentive scheme which has found few takers. 

    • But complex PC component value chains cannot crop up overnight.

  • Concerns also flared up about how this may hit India’s software and IT-enabled services export prowess. 

    • Sensing a backlash, the government went into damage control, deferring the curbs till November 1 and promising expeditious approvals to licence requests.

  • Even if import licences will be issued in minutes, as indicated, the entire spectacle is a hark back to the early days of India’s IT industry that was gradually freed up through the 1970s and 1980s.

  • Industry players are likely to remain on edge till the licensing criteria become clear. 

  • Concerns about – Would importers need to justify imports of cutting-edge devices, or a software firm need to submit proof of new hires or fresh export orders to secure licences?

  • If PC and tablet imports are causing security fears because many come from China, the government can mandate testing norms to verify shipments.

  • If the intent is to spur investments, it is difficult to bully global majors into committing large outlays.

    • They have other “easier to do business” alternatives around the world. 

  • Any increase in costs or limitations on device options would also imply collateral damage for India’s consumers. 

  • For many households and small enterprises, this is not just about crossing the digital divide but also access to government services increasingly going online in a Digital India. 

  • Unpredictable policies, excessive taxation and a return to maximum government, can derail India’s reform story.



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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: Restrictions on Imports of Laptops UPSC NOTE
Restrictions on Imports of Laptops UPSC NOTE
Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam
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